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Commentator Adam Frank says that no matter what your year has been like — no matter what you may have lost — you can always be thankful for the miracle that is planet Earth.

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Vultures consume toxic bacteria that would sicken or kill humans. Stouter immune systems, colonies of helpful microbes and potent stomach acid may help the carrion eaters gorge with abandon.

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The federal probe is examining whether Darren Wilson intentionally violated Michael Brown's civil rights. Justice Department veterans say proving he violated federal criminal law will be difficult.

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Chris Pearce/Teaching Comics

Art imitates life for Chris Pearce — English teacher by day, comic artist by night. Inspired by his students, the material practically writes itself.

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Birds are one of the most widely studied forms of life on the planet. And, there are still new species out there to discover — as one young researcher found recently in a forest in Indonesia.

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